Energy costs should be among the most important considerations when buying a home. The volatile prices for oil, propane, and natural gas can have a significant impact on a home owner’s budget. Therefore, whether you are buying or selling a home, it is a good idea to have an energy audit conducted.
Home sellers benefit because they can make their home more saleable, and may even add value, by identifying energy loss and implementing energy saving improvements, and buyers benefit because they will save thousands of dollars on energy costs after they buy a home.
Free energy audits are available to homeowners through MassSave. Homeowners benefit from a MassSave energy audit because it includes a number of incentives:
- 75% up to $2000 toward the installation of approved insulation improvements
- No-cost targeted air sealing
- Generous rebates on qualifying energy-efficient heating and hot water heating equipment
- The opportunity to apply for 0% financing for eligible measures through the HEAT loan program
- And more
According to their website, the Center for Environmental Technology (CET), a Northampton-based non-profit organization, handles most of MassSave’s energy audits. However, the organization that certified CET’s energy auditors is the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET). They have a list of other energy auditors as well.
If a home seller has not taken advantage of the MassSave program, it may be a good idea to request that the seller have one done as a contingency in the offer. This is because the program is free to home sellers. Otherwise the buyer would need to incur the cost of an energy audit, which could be as much as a few hundred dollars.
Many towns in western Massachusetts, and throughout the commonwealth, are adopting a new building code that includes a Home Energy Rating System (HERS), known as the Stretch Code, as part the requirements to become a Green Community under the Green Communities Act. So new construction in these communities may have had such an assessment done depending on when the building permit was pulled (before or after the new code was adopted.)
If you are looking to buy an existing home, however, it is a good idea to spend a little extra money by having a formal energy audit done as part of the inspection process if the home seller is unwilling to take advantage of the free program. It is worth the extra money up front to save thousands of dollars over the years that you own your new home.
Specializing in western Mass real estate, call Michael Seward at 413-531-7129 if you are looking to buy or sell a home in the Pioneer Valley and would like more information about ways you can save on energy costs.